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  • Position : Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation
  • Affiliation : Embassy of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation
  • Affiliation : Director of OSCE Academy
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International Security Index iSi decreased to 2760 points. Dunay, Jayatilleka comment events of the week

11.12.2012

p7286_1.jpgMOSCOW, DECEMBER 11, 2012. PIR PRESS - “The instability in a number of post-Arab Spring countries, including Libya and Egypt have demonstrated that the resolution of the hot phase of conflict does not result in the stability desired and does not bring about change that is clearly showing in the direction of lasting settlement. This is a contributing factor of doubt concerning a conclusive resolution of the Syrian conflict. The hesitation of many states stems from the fact nobody knows whether Syria under the leadership of the current opposition forces would be better governed than now”, - Head of the International Security Program of the Geneva Center for Security Policy, Pál Dunay.

During the week of December 3 - 10, 2012, the International Security Index iSi decreased to 2760 points. In Syria, the army pursued the rebels on the outskirts of Damascus, the intensity of the fighting around the capital decreased. In northern Lebanon took places clashes between Sunni and Alawite caused by Syrian conflict. In Egypt, President Mohammed Mursi abolished decree on the expansion of his power after the demonstrations of opponents of the referendum on the new constitution. In the southeast of Turkey, army launched a major operation against Kurdish rebels. In Congo, the government agreed to negotiate with the rebels from the March 23 Movement. In Northern Ireland, occured clashes between demonstrators and the police because of the authorities' decision not to hang out the UK flags except for the ferial days. In the USA Congress repealed the Jackson-Vanik amendment and adopted the Magnitsky Act concerning human rights and issues of corruption in Russia. In Italy, Prime Minister Mario Monti announced his intention to resign after the parliament will approve the budget for 2013. The Philippines, were hit by a powerful hurricane Bofa, more than two hundred people died.

Comments on the week's events by members of the International Expert Group of the PIR Center

Pal_Dunay.pngPál Dunay, (Hungary), Head of the International Security Program of the Geneva Center for Security Policy - by e-mail from Budapest: The security situation has both improved and deteriorated in the last three-four months. Among the factors of improvement, the most important one would be the fact that Obama administration continues in a second office term. This means that a thoughtful, non-unilateralist, pragmatic foreign and security policy will continue. Among the factors of deterioration is the ongoing Syrian crisis. The situation has further deteriorated, including both horizontal and vertical escalation.

The humanitarian crisis has spread further and Syria looks increasingly divided internally. It is clear that both sides (if we assume that the opponents of the Assad regime form one side) have been well-endowed with resources, including manpower and armaments. The crisis has been gradually escalating horizontally and affects the security of different neighboring countries. Lebanon has already been massively absorbed in the conflict and has an increasingly difficult to manage humanitarian crisis on its territory. Jordan is not immune either. Iran as the main supporter of the regime through its contribution to the survival of the Syrian regime has been adding another dimension to its disrepute. Some Gulf States supply rebel forces both from their own resources and also serve as bridgehead of others. Turkey is increasingly absorbed in the Syrian crisis that further undermines the core philosophy of Ankara zero problems with neighbors. Although this could never be realized it is clear that Turkey's relations with several partners have become more troubled than ever, including Syria, Iran, Iraq and Russia.

Gradually due to the neighborhood of Syria Ankara has to invite NATO to provide technical support in order to prevent the spill-over of the Syrian conflict on its territory. Although the support is constrained to providing certain types of technologies (surface to air missile batteries, etc.) the continuation of hostilities in Syria may result in limited escalation. The instability in a number of post-Arab spring countries, including Libya and Egypt have demonstrated that the resolution of the hot phase of conflict does not result in the stability desired and does not bring about change that is clearly showing in the direction of lasting settlement. This is a contributing factor of doubt concerning a conclusive resolution of the Syrian conflict. The hesitation of many states stems from the fact nobody knows whether Syria under the leadership of the current opposition forces would be better governed than now.

1016_350_175.jpgDayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO – by e-mail from Paris: Globally the situation has improved with the re-election of President Barack Obama, who has a more realistic and less aggressive international policy than his Republican challenger did. Regionally, things briefly worsened with the Gaza crisis but they re-stabilized with the positive outcome of the ceasefire efforts by Egypt. The most negative factors have been the continued one-sidedness of the policy of the West towards the Israeli escalation in Gaza. The positive factor is that Egypt and Turkey, encouraged by Russia were able successfully broker a ceasefire deal in Gaza, which was backed by the Obama administration. The negative aspect is that it is not possible to discount the statements that the Gaza operation was the test run for a larger assault on Iran. While the basic policy tilt of the Obama administration heavily in favor of Israel will not change, US policy in both these strategic theatres will be impacted by the results of elections in Israel in 2013 and the mix of the government that will be formed. If it is a result that strengthens centrist realism in Israel rather than the militarist, expansionist and religious Right, this will enable the Egyptians, the Obama administration, the Israelis and the Fatah to re-open dialogue towards a moderate outcome.  

The iSi index is calculated weekly and monthly. A weekly iSi value is published on Tuesdays in Kommersant Daily (www.kommersant.ru) accompanied by brief comments explaining Index fluctuations. Results of the monthly iSi calculations are published on the first working day of each month at the PIR Center website at www.pircenter.org

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